One Of The Most Rewarding Careers Is Travel Nursing, And Here's Why

Rick Martinez

The benefits of travel nursing are numerous, but it is important to know some of the reasons why travel nurses choose this career.

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

This article will explore several reasons that travel nurses may find appealing, and help you decide if travel nursing is right for you.

So as you read this, keep this overarching question in mind. What would make you want to become a travel nurse? 

There are lots of great reasons to take the plunge into travel nursing and if you’ve been on the fence lately as a staff nurse, there’s no better time than now to seriously consider becoming a professional traveler and joining the ranks of this specialty. 

Another important item of note is that the nurse licensure compact (NLC) makes the high demand need for nurses across the U.S. even more poignant. This means there are more assignments, more healthcare facilities, more support, and benefits, for RNs seeking a change of pace.

To help you decide if travel nursing is right for you, we’ve compiled these top reasons why healthcare pros like you may want to consider these types of nursing jobs.

1. You get to travel! 

The most glaring benefit for a registered nurse to consider this path is new.

New cities, new assignments, new hospitals, and the best part, new adventures.

Travel and travel nursing presents unique opportunities to go to places you have wanted to go to but perhaps could not afford to in the past. 

Most assignments are typically 13 weeks long, short term, which gives nurses the time to explore their new city.

I remember my very first travel nurse assignment in Dallas, Texas. It’s a location I had always been drawn to and had someday hoped to live there and check out. 

Because of my recruiter and the healthcare company I chose, we were able to find the perfect assignment and I dove into my first 13-week contract. I had a blast checking out the big “D”, making new nursing friends, and then having friends visit me there. 

2. The agencies handle the details, you remain free

This was an important realization for me as an RN. You see, I had always believed that the path to growth as a registered nurse would be working as a staff nurse.

Travel nursing and agencies changed all that for me. 

When I chose the travel life, it was the agency who handled the details like housing, specific stipends I might receive, compensation negotiation and pay, and of course, the assignments I chose from.

But that’s not the best part. 

The best part as a travel nurse is that there are dozens of agencies and travel nurse companies that will compete for you. 

For the first time in a while, I understood that my high demand profession gave me some leverage to see the country on my terms.

Freedom and leverage were, and still are, important to me as an RN in any job that I do.

3. Become more confident and grow in your career

The nurse I am today is not the nurse I was when I first started taking assignments as a travel nurse.

Every single role I fill, every assignment I took, and every location I went to, I became a better RN. In fact, even as a very experienced travel nurse I still learn things each time I fill a new job. 

While I know I would have learned and grown as a staff nurse, I truly believe that the experiences I have gained as a travel nurse have made me a better healthcare provider, and person, today. 

The end result is that I have built my confidence, and I’m certain other nurses will too. 

4. New people and new friends

If we’re being honest with each other, who would not want to make new friends while they travel, make pretty good pay, and see the country?

The fact is that as a travel nurse you will indeed expand your horizons, and of course, your life, with each new experience, multiple assignment options, and location.

I’ll let you, my fellow nurses, in on a little secret. 

On one of my travel nurse assignments in Texas, I met the person who would later become my wife.

Needless to say, one of the greatest benefits I have received on the job was meeting my soul mate. 

5. Become more humble  

At a certain point in our nursing career, we have seen a bit and learned a lot.

But, when I started travel nursing and taking on new assignments and new locations, I realized I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought. It was a learning and a humbling experience. 

In a greater sense, it helped me realize that as nurses, whether we travel or have a more traditional job, are all in this together. We are not above or below, rather beside one another as a team for support and our well-being.

6. Vacation time off

Sometimes nursing jobs assignments can be tough. 

As a travel nurse, you may have great short term jobs, a fabulous housing stipend, a perfect contract, and an awesome recruiter, but, we still need some temporary downtime. 

This is why travel nursing fits my life so well.

In between positions, I have the absolute choice to take a week or two off or dive back into and fill a new short term contract.

When I first became a travel nurse I would gobble up positions, and go from job to job as each mini-adventure ended. I’d have my next role lined up even before my last one was completed. The search would start before the 13-weeks were over. 

That was then, this is now.

Now as a more experienced travel nurse I have come to understand that a bonus, any stipends, and my compensation packages, are all so critically important. It matters because now, while I still fill multiple roles a year, I now do my research so I get the biggest bang for my buck as a traveler.

It’s important for us travel nurses to manage our health and well being, and now I’ve hit my goal.

7. Freedom, freedom, and more freedom!

Just like a real estate agent might say, location, location, location…us travel nurses say freedom!

The point is that nursing, specifically nurses who work as travel nurses, have achieved something that many folks want. And that is the ability to call the shots and live a unique life.

The final word

As travel nurses, we have the freedom to travel, take on new assignments and explore new places while still growing and advancing in our careers as nurses. 

The autonomy that comes with being travel nurses is what makes this specialty so rewarding and unique in comparison to other healthcare careers. There are many reasons why travel nurses choose the travel option as a healthcare provider- not only can you enjoy your work but also get paid well doing it, meet other amazing nurses from all over the country, build confidence as travel nurses by learning more about yourself through this experience, take time off between gigs…and the list goes on.

Whatever stage of your career you’re at right now– whether just starting out in the field of travel nurses or looking to make a change after years working as staff nurse– I encourage you to search and explore agencies, facilities, and recruiters out there.

This is the perfect time to take that leap of faith and nurses will indeed expand their horizons.

So all I have to say now to my fellow nurses is embrace your freedom and hit the road!!

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I'm a freelance writer and a nurse, exploring the world one beer, donut, and experience at a time. Writing about the travel nurse industry and healthcare, with the occasional emphasis on donuts. #NomNom

San Antonio, TX
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